Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Everyone Gets Jane

Laura Miller defends Jane Eyre over at Salon.

The issue at hand is an article at The Telegraph in which this guy says that Jane Eyre is a heroine because she's all about getting a man whereas Becky Sharpe in Vanity Fair (which I read a lifetime ago) has other fish to fry and is thus a hero.

I agree with Miller that Jane Eyre is not a romance and that the significant issue in the book is not that (spoiler!) Jane gets Rochester in the end, but that she rejects him earlier for principle. Keep in mind also that Rochester isn't a traditional romantic lead who wins his lover back. He is left physically impaired at the end of the book (some have suggested that this is his punishment for his earlier behavior) and Jane returns to him out of a belief that he needs her. As, indeed, he does. He needs her care now, not just her love.

Not a typical happy romantic ending to a book all about a woman getting her man.

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